Culture and Communication

Culture and Communication

Much of education has to do with communication. Teachers project their voices to classrooms of students. Students read and write, though how they do so may not coincide with the predominant languages or varieties of schools. Disagreements happen on playgrounds. Young people learn from grandparents and parents. Students take standardized exams, upon which schools can be judged as “failing.” Much, if not all, of education is communicative, and communication is inextricably linked to and indicative of cultural and linguistic differences.

Our emphasis on communication means that educational initiatives must be culturally and linguistically relevant and sustaining. We aim to re-think much of educational research through a more communicative-focused perspective that foregrounds diversity. This concentration encourages students to ask: How does communication happen? How can we, as researchers, teachers, policymakers, and activists, understand language? What consequences do ways of speaking and writing have for students, teachers, and administrators? And how do institutional conceptions of communication and identity complicate successful schooling and life for students?

Careers for students who have emphasized Communication & Culture include teaching, working in governmental and non-governmental agencies concerned with the educational or communicative aspects of their work (in the worlds of medicine, communication, business, etc.) both in the United States and abroad, curriculum design, and ethnographic consultation.

Suggested programs of study includes, with 32 total points:

  • 15 points in general anthropology (for example, courses like Communication & Culture; Languages, Cultural Politics, and Education; Dynamics of Family Communication; or other anthropology courses that the student sees as relevant)
  • 3 or more points in ethnographic research methods techniques (to better be able to listen to others)
  • 6 points in courses related to communication and/or culture outside of the anthropology program, including courses in bilingual education, applied linguistics, international education (where there are several courses on language policy and literacy), literacies etc.
  • 6 points in courses outside the program that develop practical skills (such as about culturally relevant pedagogy)
  • an internship that applies the themes of the course of study
  • an integrative project related to the course work
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